What are the Fair Housing Laws in Colorado?

“…I looked for eight months for an apartment, despite having a good, stable job as a college librarian, excellent references and being in my early 40’s. I was told at least six times that I can remember that the landlord in question would not rent to me with a child, because of noise, “safety” issues, etc. I had landlords rescind housing offers once they realized I had a child,…” – Kerry, California (on MomsRising.org)

Did you know it’s illegal for most landlords to refuse to rent to a family with children? It is equally illegal to deny housing in Colorado to people because of:

  • race
  • color
  • religion
  • sex
  • national origin
  • marital status
  • disability

Fair Housing Law has many layers. As a landlord, you’re obligated to obey the laws at the federal, state and local level.

The Federal Fair Housing Act

Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination in housing to many groups. It was enacted in 1968 and amended again in 1988. The Fair Housing Act covers sales, rental and financing of dwellings.

The Colorado Fair Housing Act

Colorado has its own Fair Housing laws.

  • The Colorado Civil Rights Act of 1866 gave non-white citizens the same property rights as white citizens
  • The Colorado Civil Rights Act of 1870 granted equal rights under the law to white and non-white citizens
  • The Colorado Fair Housing Act of 1968 gave holders of real estate licenses the obligation to ensure that their real estate activities did not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. It was amended in 1988 to include disabilities and familial status.

Is Colorado Law Different Than Federal Law?

Colorado law will affect your rental activities differently than the federal law in some interesting ways.

  • Colorado Fair Housing law affects commercial properties as well as residential properties. The federal law only covers dwellings.
  • Colorado’s laws include additional categories, such as marital status, ancestry and creed.
  • Exemptions to the law are different in Colorado. For example, it is not illegal here to restrict housing specifically designed for people with disabilities.

Local laws may add an extra layer. For example, Colorado law does not make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of age or sexual orientation, but many local ordinances do.

Sound complicated? It is, but as property managers it’s our job to know what is and is not illegal. We’ll make sure your property stays on the right side of the law.